The Hillsborough County, Florida commissioners have hired our law firm to handle a very important case. The firm was hired unanimous to file a lawsuit against Volkswagen for violating the county’s anti-air-pollution laws with its emissions cheat device. More than a thousand VW vehicles are being operated in the Tampa area without emissions controls. The county’s lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Middle District Court of Florida in Tampa and will soon become part of the consolidated class action against Volkswagen.
The County’s Environmental Protection Commission spearheaded the efforts to hire our firm to represent the county. As we have previously reported, our firm is among the group of law firms chosen to form the plaintiffs’ steering committee (PSC) that will litigate VW lawsuits consolidated in federal court in San Francisco. The law firm of Gardner Brewer Martinez-Monfort and Thomas L. Young were also chosen to work with our firm in the case filed in Tampa.
Hillsborough County is the only county in Florida with an environmental law that prohibits tampering with emissions control equipment in automobiles. This unique ordinance provides for penalties against manufacturers, installers or sellers of defeat devices of up to $5,000 per violation. VW has admitted installing codes in about 11 million of its diesel-powered vehicles that enable them to emit up 10 to 40 times the legal level of nitrogen oxide and other noxious gases during normal operation, and then turn on emissions controls when the vehicles are undergoing emissions tests.
This emissions cheat device affects more than 600,000 VW vehicles in the U.S., many of which have been on U.S. roads since 2009. There are currently about 1,187 of the vehicles in Hillsborough County, according to the Environmental Protection Commission’s calculations. Dee Miles, who heads our firm’s Consumer Fraud and Commercial Litigation Section, and who is also serving on the Volkswagen PSC in San Francisco, says this litigation highlights a disturbing trend amongst auto industry giants where “lying is simply business as usual.”
Our lawyers believe this VW litigation involves one of the worst cases of fraud on the public that they have ever seen in the history of the automobile industry. It’s a privilege to help lead the prosecution of these claims against VW, working along with some of this country’s most talented lawyers. It’s also a real honor for our firm to represent the interest of the citizens of Hillsborough County, Florida. The complaint is filed as The Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, Florida v. Volkswagen AG. Dee Miles, Archie Grubb and Clay Barnett from our firm are handling this case for our firm.